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CAPE CORAL, Fla. (August 28, 2015) Ronald J. Antonin has jointed the attorneys at Martin Law Firm, PL announced firm principal, Steven E. Martin.

A member of the Florida Bar since 2006, Antonin will assist the firm in developing its offices in Miami, Florida focusing on personal injury.

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Usually, the court will impute an income to the non-working spouse. This means that in cases where child support, alimony, and equitable distribution of assets and debts are at issue, the court will decide a wage that should be attributed to the non-working spouse. This imputed income amount will serve as the amount the spouse should be making if they were working, and most calculations throughout the case will be made using this imputed income.

As a matter of law, trial courts should consider the non-working spouse’s work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings in the community for that class of available jobs when finding an amount of imputed income. Evidence may be presented that the non-working spouse had earned the same amount prior to quitting a previous job, that the non-working spouse is capable of working, and that the non-working spouse has options to do so.

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The Florida Department of Revenue may intervene in child support cases to ensure that a minor child is receiving the care and support he or she is entitled to by law. Paternity is presumed when a husband and wife have a child within the bonds of marriage. However, if the parents are not married, the Department of Revenue may still collect child support from a father who may or may not be the actual biological father of a child.

A father may contest paternity, but the courts will always look to what is in the best interests of the child “[T]he courts require a determination of the child’s best interests. Some circumstances require specific procedures to be followed in evaluating a child’s best interests. For example, if paternity is contested, the child’s legitimacy is at issue, and the legal father has not had notice or an opportunity to be heard, the trial court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem and hear from the guardian and all the parties before proceeding.”

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On February 29, 2012 the Second District Court of Appeals issued an opinion involving the appointment of a Personal Representative (sometimes referred to as an executor or administrator) for the estate of a decedent who died without a Will. When a decedent has made a valid Will, this document will normally nominate a person or bank to be Personal Representative. What happens when there is no Will?

The Florida Probate Code specifies that there is a priority of preference that is to be followed in determining who will be Personal Representative. A surviving spouse comes first, followed by a person who is selected by a majority in interest of the heirs. A “majority in interest” means a person or combination of people who get at least 51% of the value of the assets of the estate. The third preference is an heir nearest in degree (meaning essentially the closest relative or someone from a group of people who all have the same relationship to the decedent).

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Termination of Parental Rights is a serious issue in Florida Law. The Department of Children and Family Services often becomes involved in situations where a child’s welfare is in danger. Many times extended family members may be concerned about the parenting style or neglect by the child’s parents. If this becomes an issue, or if abuse is a concern, the Department of Children and Family Services will often take part in the case.

In temporary situations where children need to be provided care, family members may apply for Temporary Custody by and Extended Family Member, by petitioning the Court for an order allowing them to temporarily care for the children at issue. Many times this is a better situation for everyone involved, because the children are then able to be cared for in a familiar environment, and the Court is able to monitor the situation first hand.

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MARTIN LAW FIRM ATTORNEYS RECEIVE LEGAL ELITE RECOGNITION

The Martin Law Firm, P.L. of Cape Coral, Florida is proud to announce that Steven E. Martin, Eviana J. Martin, Jonathan Bierfeld, Dustin M. Butler, and Patricia Dills have all been named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Up and Comers.

Florida Trend recognizes a prestigious list of approximately 2% of the active members of the Florida Bar who practice in Florida. Active members of the Florida Bar were asked to name attorneys whom exemplify the standards of Legal Elite and would recommend to others. Top vote getters then had their disciplinary records reviewed and finally were reviewed by a panel of previous winners.

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A recent development arising from the collapse of the housing market has been the rapid increase in the real estate industry practice known as short sales. As more and more homeowners find themselves in the precarious position of owing more on their homes than what they are currently worth, many homeowners have begun to consider whether taking part in a short sale might be more beneficial than going through with the normal foreclosure process or filing for bankruptcy protection. Although for some individuals a short sale might appear more beneficial than other traditional options, in many cases there are significant drawbacks to taking part in a short sale, and a host of problems that the seller does not discover until later. Before you proceed with a short sale you should consider what is discussed in this article and ask critical questions of the people who are proposing this transaction to you. In a real estate short-sale, the struggling homeowner sells his or her home for less than what is owed in hopes that the lender will accept this amount in satisfaction of the mortgage debt. Lenders are likely to agree to a short sale only where the homeowner appears to be unable to continue making payments, and only where the property’s value is less than the mortgage balance. The difference between what is owed and the selling price is known as a “deficiency.” A short sale is really only beneficial to a homeowner if he can receive a guarantee from the lender that he will not

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To answer this question briefly, a biological father has no rights to a child born while the mother was married to another man, unless the mother’s husband relinquishes his parental rights through proper procedure. In Florida, the “legal father” of a child is defined as the man to whom the mother is married when the child was born and whose name appears on the birth certificate. In the case of Slowinski v. Sweeney 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1418a (Fla. 1St DCA 2013), it was undisputed that the child was born within wedlock while the mother was married to another man and that the mother’s husband was listed as the father in the child’s birth certificate. The child resided with the maternal grandmother since birth. Upon the mother’s death, the grandmother, with the legal father’s consent, filed a petition for temporary custody, pursuant to Florida Statute section 751.03, which allows an extended family member to seek temporary custody of a child.

The biological father filed a petition for determinatin of paternity in the same county as the grandmother’s action using evidenced by DNA testing to show that he is the father and that he should have custody of the child. The biological father’s paternity action was ultimately dismissed on appeal because the court considered it a “nonexistant cause of action.” The biological father next filed a motion to intervene in the grandmother’s temporary custody case. After an evidentiary hearing on his motion, the trial court allowed the biological father to intervene in the case, finding that he qualieifed as an “extended family member” because his status as a biological father made him a “relative of a minor child within the third degree by blood or marriage to the parent.”

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